ONLY ON 8: Baca twins open up about Vegas shooting; they're hopeful for the future

LAS VEGAS - Gianna and Natalia Baca were two of the youngest shooting survivors of the 1 October massacre last month, but the twins are on the mend and about to celebrate a huge milestone.

The teens spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW right before their 18th birthday, which is Friday, Nov. 10.  In speaking with them, it was discovered that the Route 91 Harvest Festival was the first outdoor concert they attended without their parents.  But, that experience was marred when a lone gunman reigned gunfire down on the crowd killing 58 people and wounded more than 500 others.

The twins were among the wounded.

"You just got in there, and it feels like family, and then you got to the stage, and everyone starts dancing with you," said Natalia Baca.  "It felt like a really good crowd.

But at 10:05 p.m., everything changed.  

"I looked up, and I said, 'oh I don't see anything, ' and then it stopped and Jason kept playing, and so we just kept singing, and then it went off, and I was like, 'what the heck," Gianna Baca said.

During the second burst of bullets, Gianna's boyfriend threw her to the floor. She says at that moment she still didn't believe the gunfire was real.  

Christianne Klein, 8 News NOW Anchor: "When was the first time you realized this is -- this is happening?
Natalia and Gianna: "The screaming, the crying and the people running and just everyone saying get down get down. It was really scary." 

Within moments, both of the twins were shot by the gunman. Gianna was struck in the hip, while Natalia was hit in her shoulder. 

During the chaos, the sisters were separated. Natalia's friends were able to help get her to the medical tent where her wounds were treated.

"I remember Katie saying to me, 'stay with us, Natalia! Stay with us.'  I was going into shock at that point, and she was like 'your face is turning purple; your lips are turning blue; you're going into shock. Just stay with us.'"

One of the heroes of the 1 October shooting was Dean Mcauley, an off-duty firefighter from Washington who stayed with Natalia for hours, helping her call her father to let him know she was injured.

Christianne Klein, 8 News NOW Anchor:  "What did you say?"
Natalia Baca: "All I remember was Dean saying, 'tell your dad there's an active shooter and you got shot.' I don't know after that."

Despite their physical injuries, the twins know they're lucky.

Gianna was treated and released from the hospital, but Natalia wasn't able to go home until five days later.

Both received heroes welcome from their high school Faith Lutheran during their homecoming game.  They were also front and center at UFC when it honored the victims the next weekend. 

The twins acknowledging that some days are more challenging than others.

Gianna Baca: "It's difficult to sleep. You get those memories; flashbacks. You get those loud sounds, where yesterday it didn't affect you but today it will."
Natalia Baca: "Just like a little sound like a door shut it could trigger you or not trigger you that day. I remember little bits and pieces every day, and more comes to my head.
Christianne Klein, 8 News NOW Anchor: "Is that hard? The fresh memories coming in?"
Gianna Baca: "The new scenes are weird. When it comes to you and you think about it again, and you think 'whoa that really did happen,' and then the next day you'll have a different one and then you'll add on to it like 'oh that's where the piece is missing.'"
Christianne Kelin: how do you deal with that? 
Natalia Baca: "That's what happened. I'm not going to let it get me down. I'm just going to build on it and build the story and not forget about it." 

The twins said they are determined to live their life with little fear, but they wish they had the chance to confront the man who changed their life forever.

Christianne Klein, 8 News NOW Anchor: "If you had a chance to say something to him what would you say?" 
Gianna Baca: "(sigh) Oh, there's so much."
Natalia Baca: "I don't know why."
Gianna Baca: "I just want to know his actual plan and more answers.
Natalia Baca: "Like why did he have to do this to innocent people? He's a coward so..." 
Christianne Klein, 8 News NOW Anchor: "Is it frustrating that there are not those answers? 
Gianna Baca: "Yeah.
Natalia Baca: "It's very frustrating, but I mean you can't let it get to you cause you're probably never going to ever learn the answers to any of this." 

Natalia says she always has thought about becoming a neonatal nurse after, but that night made her dreams of going into the medical field crystal clear.  She said after her time in ICU, she knows for a fact that she wants to be a nurse who works in the ER or the ICU.
 


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